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Frequently Asked Questions
- Where will I get my health insurance beginning on January 1, 2014?
If you already have health insurance, you won't have to change your coverage, but you can look at the new products that will be available and decide what insurance policy best suits your needs. In 2014, health insurers won't be able to deny coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions, so even those with insurance will have more options.
California has set up the California Health Benefit Exchange and starting on the fall of 2013, you will be able to shop for health insurance there as well as outside the Exchange. You can contact the Exchange or a licensed health insurance agent who can help you learn about your options. If you do not have an agent, we can provide assistance with finding a licensed agent.
- What is the California Health Benefit Exchange?
The Exchange is a marketplace where the uninsured, those whose employers don't provide coverage and small employers will be able to compare and purchase a health insurance policy with tax credits available to individuals and families with income between the 133 percent (in 2010, $14,400 for an individual and $29,000 for a family of 4) and 400 percent (in 2010, $43,300 for an individual and $88,200 for a family of 4) of the poverty level. There will also be tax credits available to some small employers that purchase coverage for their employees in the Exchange. You may be able to purchase the same policy outside of the Exchange, but the Exchange is the only place where you'll be able to receive the federal tax credits for which you may qualify. Also, a separate Exchange will be created for small businesses to purchase coverage -- effective 2014.
- What if I need health insurance now and I have a pre-existing condition?
The Affordable Care Act created a temporary program just for those who have been turned down because they have pre-existing conditions. This program is called the California Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan and thousands of Californians have signed up since it began. Enrollees pay the premium for their coverage, but a portion of the cost is covered by the federal government.
- Do I have to buy health insurance?
Beginning January 1, 2014, most people will be required to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. Health insurers will also no longer be able to deny your application beginning January 1, 2014.